A roofer has been fined after an accident at work left a woman and her grandson with severe burns.
The incident took place on 9 June this year because the roofer’s ladder was not properly secured, Redhill Magistrates’ Court was told.
It caused the grandmother and her 21-month-old grandson to be splashed and scalded by hot bitumen as a result of the incident at her home in Reigate, Surrey.
Burns required extensive hospital treatment
The grandmother, who does not want to be named, suffered burns to her head and face and she needed skin grafts on both hands and a foot.
Her grandson also needed extensive hospital treatment having received burns to his chest, forehead, face, lips and under his right arm as a result of the work accident.
Self-employed roofer John Terrell, 50, from High Wycombe, was prosecuted on 25 November by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation concluded the incident and injuries could have been prevented if he had taken due care.
Bucket fell from roof
He had been contracted to felt a flat roof and was melting bitumen at ground level before it was transported up a ladder, the court heard.
He and a colleague had already climbed the ladder several times without incident, but it slipped just as the grandmother approached with her grandson in her arms to ask if they wanted a cup of tea.
The bucket fell and the bitumen spilled directly on to the woman and young child.
Work accident ‘wholly avoidable’
As well as not having been properly secured to prevent slips, the HSE’s investigation found the ladder was in a poor condition with missing or badly worn rubber feet.
It was an entirely unnecessary incident as insufficient measures had been taken to prevent the slip and spill, magistrates were told.
After pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, John Terrell was fined £1,335 and ordered to pay a further £1,100 in costs.
Meanwhile, anyone who has experienced a work accident while working at height can consult Accident Advice Helpline for specialist legal advice.
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